4 Common Referencing Mistakes All College Students Make – 2024 Guide

Academic studies come with a lot of writing that counts as credit towards the final grade. Every college student knows how difficult and time consuming these types of assignments are, and rarely any finds any pleasure in them. Still however, they are very important as they can and will prepare you for the later work that is far more important than individual seminar papers and essays. Your final paper, master thesis, and doctoral dissertation are all examples of academic writing you are preparing for through these seemingly irrelevant assignments about topic you care little about.

As hard and boring as these things are, you have to go through them if you mean to graduate. And to complete them with flying colors, you have to know how to write them. You may be an above average writer and writing may come natural to you. However, academic writing is not something you can do by consulting only what you know and believe. There needs to be a lot of research done and numerous other works that you have to consult and use in your own. Then, the bane of every college student comes in the form of referencing.

References serve to show which work you took a something from, or rather, where you learned it. Since it would be plagiarism to blatantly copy something without crediting it, references are there to smooth things out and tell the reader (and the evaluator) where you found it, who wrote it, who published it, and when. References are a crucial part of every scientific paper no matter how big or small, and scientific papers come in all sorts of types and models. You will write at least a few of them if you plan to have a successful career, so as a student you have to know what referencing mistakes to avoid. Keep reading to learn more about this and be sure to check out homeworkmarket.us for more help and information on all things related to homework, papers, and references.

1. Not Using Official Works

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Due to the sheer abundance of information available online and otherwise in the modern world, it could seem like you could use just about any work and cite it in your own. Referencing however does not work like this. You should only use proper works, by proper authors, that have been published and that have some merit in the field they are a part of. For example, not enough students know that sources like Wikipedia are not official. It is a site where anyone can write an article. It is fact checked, but it is not official so it cannot be used as a reference. In order to locate works you can reference and use without any issues down the line, you need to use Google Scholar, or a real library in your town or at your college.

2. Not Seeking Advice or Guidance

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You should be the sole author of your academic writing assignment, that much is certain. However, this hardly means that you should not ask your mentors, teachers, and librarians for help. They are there for the students, to transfer their knowledge to you and your peers. Whenever they assign you some work to do, they will be there along the way to guide you and give advice. Some are more approachable than others and they respond faster. You may have a busy professor as your mentor who can only respond once per week. In any case, do not hesitate to ask about references and what they think about how you did it and what you chose. They are far more experienced than you and already know which works and which authors you should be focusing on.

3. Using Multiple Citation Styles

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As you may already know, there is at least a dozen famous citation styles with which you can reference the works that helped you. The most important rule here is to choose one and stick with it. Some teachers and mentors have one or two styles they accept or prefer, so it would be best to use those. If they do not mention it, you should be free to use whichever you like the most or whichever feels the easiest. Just make sure to use only one throughout your entire paper.

Three most common citation styles that most students use and that most professors ask for are Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), and Chicago (Notes and Bibliography, or Author-Date). If you are unsure which to use, there are some general rules of thumb to try. Humanities like languages, art, philosophy, and music work best with MLA. Social sciences, engineering, and education usually support APA. History and some humanities tend to go with Chicago Notes and Bibliography. Natural and Physical Sciences prefer the use of Chicago Author-Date.

4. Triple Checking the Right Style

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There can never be enough checking and reviewing of your work especially if you are not sure whether or not you are doing a good job. Regarding the references, there are multiple things to pay attention to. Apart from sticking to the same style in the bibliography, you must also ensure that you cite the works you used in the appropriate manor in the work itself. Each style has a different way to do this, and every type of work, as well as the medium, is cited differently.

This means that webpages are cited differently from literary works. Even literary works have multiple types and it matters if it is the whole work, a work within a work, or a citation of a work in another work. All of these then have the correct order in which the authors name and surname need to be stated, generally followed by the year of publication, the publisher, where it was published, and what pages the citation is on. If it feels like a lot of work, that is because there is a lot of work around this. Writing is much easier than referencing, but referencing is important for other reasons.